MasterChef mystery over contestant’s ‘police matter’
The mystery surrounding MasterChef contestant Ben Ungermann's arrest continues to build public momentum as the deafening silence intended to help the situation blow over has had the opposite effect.
Production company Endemol Shine has confirmed the Ipswich man was involved in a police matter of a "personal nature" but refused to comment further than a brief statement. Broadcaster Channel 10 also would not be drawn on the mystery.
Ungermann is still featuring on air but is set to depart in coming weeks.
"We can confirm Ben Ungermann has left the MasterChef Australia competition," a representative for production company Endemol Shine, which is also responsible for Married At First Sight, Lego Masters and Big Brother, said.
"As this is a police matter, we will not be making further comment."
Confidential has learned Ungermann left the competition about three months ago, when production had only just started. At that time, contestants were only told that he had left "for personal reasons".
Channel 10 and Endemol refused to clear up whether he left voluntarily or was forced to leave.
Confidential's investigations reveal Ungermann does not have any upcoming court dates in Victoria, NSW or his home state of Queensland.
His only past court date was in 2017 in Brisbane when he was convicted on a low-range drink driving charge.
An alternative interpretation of Endemol's statement is that Ungermann was not directly involved in the police matter and left the show of his own volition due to it being of a personal nature.
Confidential contacted Ungermann's long-time manager and friend, known only as Shadz, who refused to comment.
Sources close to Ungermann said he was disappointed with how the issue has been managed.
He made a comment on Instagram advising his fans: "Don't believe everything you read guys". He also thanked fans for their support on social media.
Ungermann is one of the bigger personalities on the current series, which has seen famous faces from previous seasons return for another crack at the competition.
He placed runner-up on season nine of MasterChef and has seen success personally and professionally since he last appeared on the show, with his invitation to return to the all-star season the cherry on top.
On a personal front, he recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with South African television and radio personality Leigh-Anne Williams, who visited Ungermann in Melbourne in February.
Before that, the pair holidayed in Indonesia together.
Originally published as MasterChef mystery over contestant's 'police matter'